Mortgage-finance giant Fannie Mae has been in conservatorship since the company nearly went bust and required a government takeover in late 2008. But ever since 2012, when real estate prices finally starting rising again nationwide, the firm has been a cash cow for the United States government, returning $147.6 billion to the Treasury Department’s coffers, far more than the $116.1 billion bailout it received. The fact that it is required now to send all of its profits to the Treasury rather than rebuilding its capital is controversial because the policy means that Fannie would have to tap the Treasury again if the market goes sour and it starts losing money once again. Housing finance reform, however, remains stalled in Congress, like much else these days.
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